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Thread: Building a bench

  1. #1

    Default Building a bench

    Its always mentioned that Coach Few needs to expand his bench.especially in big games.

    A talented bench is beneficial. The obvious is dealing with foul trouble. Another is being able to rest players mentally and physically keeping them at there best for a season let alone the game.

    It's hard to get meaningful playing time to advance bench players against top teams. They need to be able to be in the game long enough to develop and not hurt the team to much.

    We have to realize they are not currently starters and have a role to play. It may be as a offensive or defensive substitute or just filling in to rest or protect a player in foul trouble. It's easy to expect these players to be able to fill in without a drop off but not realistic. Posters will say a certain player is killing us while in but demand more players to play during a game

    When you drop in the bench in blow outs they never get to deal with true game pressure and playing with starters. A JV style happens. The games get sloppy and players seem to rush the offense instead of running it and bad habits develop taking poor shots and fouling on D.

    Maybe they need be shuffled in earlier or even start some to develop them.

    We've been fortunate the last few years having an experienced back up point guard transfer. Bolton is more of a 2 guard in my opinion and he's done a great job shooting and driving. He needs to maintain his role.

    We need to get Hickman sharing the point. There will be mistakes made but this is needed to get him there. Hopfully we see this as the season progresses. Is there another option at point?

    Perry and Sallis remind me of great players from the past. When they get in they try to over do everything with effort instead of trusting the coaching, game plan and their natural talent. When Joel Ayayi was given playing time in his early years he usually over helped , commit a foul or lose his guy on D. He would shoot a rushed 3 on offense or force a pass. All from just trying to do to much. I witnessed him excitedly go to the scorers table with his warm-ups on missing his chance to enter because the coaches called him back to get them off. He turned out pretty special with experience and time. Hopfully these young guys do the same. They are talented enough to make a difference with a little time to develop. Both could start in the future. Will it be fast enough to be beneficial this season?

    Sallis is ahead of Perry in experience and I believe he will get better faster. He has already shown his ability to be a "+ player" against good teams in short periods. Perry must show something special in practice or he wouldn't be getting his playing time. He doesn't have to try to block every shot. Just play big and don't over help. This always improves as a season goes on and players trust each other on D.

    I wonder what is up with Gregg? Any insight out there? I know he's more of a 4 but I think he shows enough for more playing time. He rebounds well, has shot the 3 decently and creates turnovers.

    It's easy to say build a better bench.
    How do you get them better? Do these bench players improve from practice? I'm sure it takes time to develop into a game ready player with only so many minutes available how does it happen?

    I'm hoping by March a few guys can step up and make a difference.

    Go Zags!!


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  2. #2
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    Few has always had a short bench. As the season grows longer, the bench grows shorter. That is his style and philosophy.

    In this philosophy, bench players sharpen their skills in practice. I think some of the reason is that the read and react pick and roll offense relies heavily on players developing understanding and relationships with each other on the court. The more players involved, the harder it is to build that relationship.

    The benefit from having a highly integrated starting unit apparently outweighs the benefit of depth needed for emergencies.


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by White lightning View Post
    Its always mentioned that Coach Few needs to expand his bench.especially in big games.

    A talented bench is beneficial. The obvious is dealing with foul trouble. Another is being able to rest players mentally and physically keeping them at there best for a season let alone the game.

    It's hard to get meaningful playing time to advance bench players against top teams. They need to be able to be in the game long enough to develop and not hurt the team to much.

    We have to realize they are not currently starters and have a role to play. It may be as a offensive or defensive substitute or just filling in to rest or protect a player in foul trouble. It's easy to expect these players to be able to fill in without a drop off but not realistic. Posters will say a certain player is killing us while in but demand more players to play during a game

    When you drop in the bench in blow outs they never get to deal with true game pressure and playing with starters. A JV style happens. The games get sloppy and players seem to rush the offense instead of running it and bad habits develop taking poor shots and fouling on D.

    Maybe they need be shuffled in earlier or even start some to develop them.

    We've been fortunate the last few years having an experienced back up point guard transfer. Bolton is more of a 2 guard in my opinion and he's done a great job shooting and driving. He needs to maintain his role.

    We need to get Hickman sharing the point. There will be mistakes made but this is needed to get him there. Hopfully we see this as the season progresses. Is there another option at point?

    Perry and Sallis remind me of great players from the past. When they get in they try to over do everything with effort instead of trusting the coaching, game plan and their natural talent. When Joel Ayayi was given playing time in his early years he usually over helped , commit a foul or lose his guy on D. He would shoot a rushed 3 on offense or force a pass. All from just trying to do to much. I witnessed him excitedly go to the scorers table with his warm-ups on missing his chance to enter because the coaches called him back to get them off. He turned out pretty special with experience and time. Hopfully these young guys do the same. They are talented enough to make a difference with a little time to develop. Both could start in the future. Will it be fast enough to be beneficial this season?

    Sallis is ahead of Perry in experience and I believe he will get better faster. He has already shown his ability to be a "+ player" against good teams in short periods. Perry must show something special in practice or he wouldn't be getting his playing time. He doesn't have to try to block every shot. Just play big and don't over help. This always improves as a season goes on and players trust each other on D.

    I wonder what is up with Gregg? Any insight out there? I know he's more of a 4 but I think he shows enough for more playing time. He rebounds well, has shot the 3 decently and creates turnovers.

    It's easy to say build a better bench.
    How do you get them better? Do these bench players improve from practice? I'm sure it takes time to develop into a game ready player with only so many minutes available how does it happen?

    I'm hoping by March a few guys can step up and make a difference.

    Go Zags!!


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    And if one were to assess the non big 3 games, the “bench” are getting 20-25 minutes to hone their skill sets. Even in UCLA/Texas Sallis and Hickman got long runs against top teams

    So how much playing time over the next 8day games do Hickman, Sallis, Perry, Greg get and where is the balance point of regression for the starters?
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  4. #4

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    This is why I started this thread. I am curious what the group thinks. Do they need more players involved in the big games?

    As I stated does playing in blowouts actually improve the talent of the bench. I don't think the starters playing less in blowouts hurts them. They have better competition in practice.

    I do think they need to help Nembard in big games with another point guard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by White lightning View Post
    This is why I started this thread. I am curious what the group thinks. Do they need more players involved in the big games?

    As I stated does playing in blowouts actually improve the talent of the bench. I don't think the starters playing less in blowouts hurts them. They have better competition in practice.

    I do think they need to help Nembard in big games with another point guard.

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    this is a great idea to discuss here. Thank you for this thread, White Lightning. Also in other thread there is a lot of mentioning the bench and Few's tendency to not build a real strong bench. I am not sure if I agree with all of what has been said in a negative way. I think that Gonzaga has had a really good bench almost every year. However, I believe that this year he is not playing his bench as much as i feel he should be doing in the biggest games, and especially last night. I think Gonzaga has a great bench this year, and could be our best ever. And I am sure that as time goes on that their importance will grow. Right now, last night, they did not get to play much. I totally believe that Hickman is good enough right now to play more, and that Nembhard needs breaks, times to rest and rejuvenate. Of course Watson is going to play big minutes off the bench and has been said he played well last night. The question marks are about Sallis, and Perry and Gregg. I believe all of these guys are really good and all have a future in Zag basketball I believe. I believe that playing Nembhard so much last night hurt the Zags and he showed it at the end of the game. Hickman also played great while in but could have played a lot more I believe. And of the guys on the bench that I like a lot I would say is Perry. If he was given more time and a bigger role I think we'd see a lot more out of him. But who knows why Few likes a short bench in big games. Is he as stubborn as he sometimes appears to be. Will the absence of Tommy LLoyd have an affect on Few? I know that Lloyd had a large role on past teams. And he's gone now. How is that going to affect Few and the team, I think that this thread has opened up more questions than answers.

    Go Zags!!!
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

  7. #7

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    Thanks Reborn about the thread comment.

    I didn't start this regarding the close loss to a very talented Duke team. I started it on the always returning comment on a more utilized bench.

    "So we lost one game by 3 points and suddenly the world is on fire…….don’t get it to be honest" is confusing to me as a comment. It was never brought up this way. I'm definitely not feeling like this loss is the end of the world. Actually it was probably beneficial to Gonzaga as far as losses go.

    It's fun to discuss, not argue about what others observe. Everyone has an opinion and its interesting and educational to me. Many have a higher basketball IQ than others but its nice to involve everyone. As forum members we should share what we think.

    It will never impact the game, coaching and recruits as long as we keep it civil regarding players. We mostly are crows sitting on the wire observing the game for our enjoyment.

    I would love to be educated on how to bring non starting players up to speed and make an impact on the game as others wish.

    Go Zags!!

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    Sure....here is what I think....in games that are undecided....Few will play 7/8 players.....and if you have been watching ....we all know who they are.....

    In games that have been decided....the others will get a chance to show their stuff.....and we all know who they are....

    That is the way it has always been and...... thus it will be...... going forward.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by White lightning View Post
    Thanks Reborn about the thread comment.

    I didn't start this regarding the close loss to a very talented Duke team. I started it on the always returning comment on a more utilized bench.

    "So we lost one game by 3 points and suddenly the world is on fire…….don’t get it to be honest" is confusing to me as a comment. It was never brought up this way. I'm definitely not feeling like this loss is the end of the world. Actually it was probably beneficial to Gonzaga as far as losses go.

    It's fun to discuss, not argue about what others observe. Everyone has an opinion and its interesting and educational to me. Many have a higher basketball IQ than others but its nice to involve everyone. As forum members we should share what we think.

    It will never impact the game, coaching and recruits as long as we keep it civil regarding players. We mostly are crows sitting on the wire observing the game for our enjoyment.

    I would love to be educated on how to bring non starting players up to speed and make an impact on the game as others wish.

    Go Zags!!

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    But he IS playing his bench in every game and extensively to be honest with sallis, Hickman getting 16-20 minutes or more per game so not sure what else one could do to “develop” the bench

    So those who feel he should be playing his bench more. I ask again how much more?
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bartruff1 View Post
    Sure....here is what I think....in games that are undecided....Few will play 7/8 players.....and if you have been watching ....we all know who they are.....

    In games that have been decided....the others will get a chance to show their stuff.....and we all know who they are....

    That is the way it has always been and will be going forward.....
    The Walter Cronkite answer.

    Whats your opinion? Would you like certain players to see more playing time?

    Of course coach Few is running his system and it very successful against 80+ % of the competition and it won't change from a little forums opinion. There's no argument on whats going to happen.

    I'm just curious what you think. Can bench players make an impact? How can they improve? What does Gonzaga have to do to be successful against top seeds in march? Obviously the Zags win games in March. They struggle against high seeds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    this is a great idea to discuss here. Thank you for this thread, White Lightning. Also in other thread there is a lot of mentioning the bench and Few's tendency to not build a real strong bench. I am not sure if I agree with all of what has been said in a negative way. I think that Gonzaga has had a really good bench almost every year. However, I believe that this year he is not playing his bench as much as i feel he should be doing in the biggest games, and especially last night. I think Gonzaga has a great bench this year, and could be our best ever. And I am sure that as time goes on that their importance will grow. Right now, last night, they did not get to play much. I totally believe that Hickman is good enough right now to play more, and that Nembhard needs breaks, times to rest and rejuvenate. Of course Watson is going to play big minutes off the bench and has been said he played well last night. The question marks are about Sallis, and Perry and Gregg. I believe all of these guys are really good and all have a future in Zag basketball I believe. I believe that playing Nembhard so much last night hurt the Zags and he showed it at the end of the game. Hickman also played great while in but could have played a lot more I believe. And of the guys on the bench that I like a lot I would say is Perry. If he was given more time and a bigger role I think we'd see a lot more out of him. But who knows why Few likes a short bench in big games. Is he as stubborn as he sometimes appears to be. Will the absence of Tommy LLoyd have an affect on Few? I know that Lloyd had a large role on past teams. And he's gone now. How is that going to affect Few and the team, I think that this thread has opened up more questions than answers.

    Go Zags!!!
    Again from my view. Last night foul trouble screwed up the rotation and Sallis looked like deer caught in headlight….on both sides of floor

    Every other game the guards are getting 18-20 minutes a game…….so not sure what people want

    When Rasir picked up quick fouls Hickman had to sub in for him thus could not sub in and give Nembhard a few minutes break and then again early in second half when Rasir picked up a third we had the same issue and Sallis simply did not respond in a positive way thus limiting ability to provide few minutes to Nembhard

    Every other game the pattern rotation shows that staff is using Hickman to give Nembhard a breather and he is doing well but when you have to use him to spell Rasir due to foul trouble it becomes difficult to use him for Nembhard

    Same with Timme….when Chet picked up 2 quick ones, Watson had to play and Timme was skipped his normal 3-4 minute rotational break and then again second half

    Perry was given 6 minutes and Banchero scored 11 points during that short stint including a blow by dunk…….he was NOT ready to provide any help in this game

    I was hoping that when Perry was not on point defensively that Gregg got a chance but that never happened
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    Quote Originally Posted by White lightning View Post
    The Walter Cronkite answer.

    Whats your opinion? Would you like certain players to see more playing time?

    Of course coach Few is running his system and it very successful against 80+ % of the competition and it won't change from a little forums opinion. There's no argument on whats going to happen.

    I'm just curious what you think. Can bench players make an impact? How can they improve? What does Gonzaga have to do to be successful against top seeds in march? Obviously the Zags win games in March. They struggle against high seeds.

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    Facts to back up the statement that “they struggle against high seeds”……..as I think that is a media myth that has been blown apart many times over
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoopaholic View Post
    Again from my view. Last night foul trouble screwed up the rotation and Sallis looked like deer caught in headlight….on both sides of floor

    Every other game the guards are getting 18-20 minutes a game…….so not sure what people want

    When Rasir picked up quick fouls Hickman had to sub in for him thus could not sub in and give Nembhard a few minutes break and then again early in second half when Rasir picked up a third we had the same issue and Sallis simply did not respond in a positive way thus limiting ability to provide few minutes to Nembhard

    Every other game the pattern rotation shows that staff is using Hickman to give Nembhard a breather and he is doing well but when you have to use him to spell Rasir due to foul trouble it becomes difficult to use him for Nembhard

    Same with Timme….when Chet picked up 2 quick ones, Watson had to play and Timme was skipped his normal 3-4 minute rotational break and then again second half

    Perry was given 6 minutes and Banchero scored 11 points during that short stint including a blow by dunk…….he was NOT ready to provide any help in this game

    I was hoping that when Perry was not on point defensively that Gregg got a chance but that never happened
    Bench players by definition means they have not demonstrated complete and utter faith and confidence as being the best person for that particular position with the coaching staff.

    This years team provides “bench” players constant opportunities in practice to demonstrate worth and value.

    This demonstrated worth is like a piggy bank you get more in the piggy bank during practice, but the withdraw of from that bank comes in game time where your “ACTIONS” speak loudest and its during this time period you gain the full faith and credit of the coaching staff that yhou know your role, you know the game plan, you can execute on a regular basis the game plan, that you play within your abilities combined with the game plan……….fail to do that the trust bank makes withdraws

    And it doesn’t matter if it is for one minute in first half or 7 minutes end of game the bench players need to learn to understand the value of execution.

    I feel that the bench players are getting ample minutes so far in the early season some have risen (Hickman, Watson) some have struggled at times to align and maintain game plans, defensive rotation, individual defensive assignments, running the offensive, not being selfish or hero ball

    I also suspect that for example Hickman (when not impacted by foul issues that create rotational issues) will get some play at the 1 and even see more dual PG with him and Nembhard. Much like what Few is doing with the bigs we will see Hickman coming in for Nasir for few minutes, playing alongside Nembhard, then Nasir coming in and giving a few minute break for Nembhard, then Nemhard coming back in for Hickman (like the rotation that is set for bigs…….Watson for Chet, Chet for Timme, Timme for Watson).

    Sallis is left to battle for time with Strawther until he starts to engage in both sides of the court assignments and quits going at it alone at times

    I believe we will see Perry get time when we need beef and rebounding, Gregg when the opportunity for more offensive options is created by match ups……
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    This is a good thread. We do need an elite bench to compete for a title. I think our bench right now is below the 2017 national title game team bench

    That 2017 bench was amazing and it was a major factor in us getting to the title game

    Melson was a total stud off the bench that year.
    Collins was unreal off the bench
    Tillie pretty damn good bench player
    Rui was #9 off the bench
    Jeremy Jones #10 off bench

    This years bench is different from 2017. Then we only had one guard off the bench but we had two post players off the bench. Now we only have one post player off the bench and two guards off the bench.

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    Quote Originally Posted by White lightning View Post
    This is why I started this thread. I am curious what the group thinks. Do they need more players involved in the big games?

    As I stated does playing in blowouts actually improve the talent of the bench. I don't think the starters playing less in blowouts hurts them. They have better competition in practice.

    I do think they need to help Nembard in big games with another point guard.

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    Agree w you 100% and great thread topic. I just commented as follows on the Other Games thread re Pope playing 9 guys 14+ minutes vs Utah:

    Zags played 6 guys vs Duke (starters + Watson) for 20 or more minutes with Hickman playing 9 minutes; Sallis and Perry 4 minutes each. That’s essentially a 6 man rotation with one 5* frosh (Hickman) getting 9 mpg and another getting 4. Nembhard had 8 rbds and 11 assists, but an uncharacteristic 6 turnovers on 2-7 shooting. Duke’s D was being felt but I wonder if mental & physical fatigue during his 3rd game in 5 nights @ 37 mpg was a big factor.

    I hope to see Few expand his team to a true 8 man rotation and risk relying more on Hickman and Sallis in particular to produce. Nembhard at 37+ mpg every game in the postseason will make for a similarly fatigued performance on the first Monday in April should Zags survive and advance to that date in New Orleans.

    I’d love to see Zags add some offensive sets for one true post player and 4 guards/wings on the court. Lift the offense up so every offensive player is positioned above the free throw line. Holmgren at the five w Watson, Sallis, Bolton and Hickman around him. Baylor runs these kinds of sets and they create a lot of space for movement and cutting. Imagine a post player trying to guard Holmgren in space 1v1. I think Zags can lean more on Holmgren by playing him solo and letting him be the go to guy on offense; he needs to defer less and start shooting more step back feathery jumpers on their a****. That shot is truly unguardable.
    Even though I care a lot about my basketball opinions, they are like comparing a bicycle to a championship motorcycle who is our coach. . ZagsGoZags

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    Our bench isn’t gonna play a ton in the biggest games and we shouldn’t want it to. Our best players will be playing heavy minutes in those provided they stay out of foul trouble.

    The Duke game is a tough one for a young bench. I thought Nolan handled himself well and would like to see him get more minutes going forward. Sallis getting PT in the last 10 minutes of the game blew my mind, he wasn’t ready for that stage just yet.

    The key to coming off the bench in a game like that is you can’t kill your team defensively. You can float and do nothing on offense, but if the opponent can single you out and score on you, you can’t play. That’s why Perry came in ahead of Gregg, at least for that matchup, though ideally we wouldn’t have to play either. Hickman and Sallis being plus defenders will help them get minutes, but when it’s an important game we’re gonna play 7, possibly a couple minutes for an 8th, and I’m good with that—just want more Hickman to take pressure off Nembhard.

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    Sallis didn't help his cause, by letting his man get free for a layup. You could read Few's lips when the camera focused on him a few seconds after that.

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    It appears that Few has decided on the rotation and IMHO....it is critically important that the starters and the 6-7-8 players play as much as possible to learn how to play together ..... I am pretty sure he will not play someone to keep them happy or to keep them here....

    Next year....some will move on...and there will be a new group of recruits and transfers....... the best players play....

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasZagFan View Post
    Sallis didn't help his cause, by letting his man get free for a layup. You could read Few's lips when the camera focused on him a few seconds after that.
    Yep, this is how you get in trouble as a bench player. But the good news is the two games this week were the biggest games of the year and we can spend the next 3 months building guys up to be able to play their optimal role in March/April. I just believe 7 is the sweet spot and if Sallis can force his way onto the floor then, sure, some minutes for an 8th.

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    It was a number of years ago but I recall Few once saying that if it was his choice he would keep his starters in the whole game. Point was, you have the best chance to win when your best players are in.

    I like this years rotation so far and keep wondering what it would look like if Harris didn’t get hurt.
    Go Zags!!!

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    enjoying this thread too

    would add that building a bench is for when things go bad with fouls or whatever you can't control, like injuries or matchups, whatever, in big moments in big games. most impactful it can be in these situations but not only then. of course you need the players to do it to be able to create roles they can fit into and hopefully succeed, even if not right away or all the time from jump.

    so KP getting those minutes defending Banchero, awesome, he got the same vs. Jaime and UCLA (where he played better). how else does he learn how to play those guys or in those moments if needed in a few months, you know? Same with Hunter, mistakes and all right now. +10 XP points each imo

    And I'd add that Few seems to be going for it with this bench group so far. The unbalanced schedule plays a part in all of this too, needing wins and to go all out playing for key wins early because we mostly don't get opportunities in the WCC to do it later, but then that's the same for these young guys and their chances to get the experience against the best opponents with the brightest lights shining

    I think Few and co. are trying to walk that balance so far this season with this specific group because of a few things discussed a lot here already, including getting over the hump in the physical bruising tests, and we'll see if a bench matters or not, or if Few and co. make it happen or not, and all these other things. My opinion is the opportunities for KP and HS on the floor to develop into better representations of themselves than vs. Duke are not only possible, but great opportunities for the team to do the same.

    Few can still play his best 5, just have more options to choose from in situations that may require he does

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